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Game Vs. Steelers: Head Coach Doug Pederson

Posted Sep 25, 2016

On whether he was a little surprised about how dominating of a game the Eagles played:

“I told the team way back in OTAs that it just takes a little bit of belief. Belief in themselves; trust the process; believe in the coaches and the coaches believe in one another. That’s what they did tonight. Am I surprised? A little. But at the same time, I know that locker room, I know those guys and I know what they are building. By no means have we accomplished anything yet; the season is still extremely young. But what they did tonight just proves that they are coming together as a football team.”
 
On if there are times where he says ‘Wow’ in regards to Eagles QB Carson Wentz’s development and play-making ability, especially on plays such as his touchdown throw to RB Darren Sproles:

“You know, you just put on his college film. Just watch him. We exhausted his college tape and those were the plays that he made at North Dakota State. That play tonight was just a tremendous play by both he and Darren Sproles. Those are the types of things that we know he can do. He just keeps gaining confidence every single week.”
 
On Wentz’s progression from college to the NFL thus far:

“I give a lot of credit to [Offensive Coordinator] Frank Reich and [Quarterbacks Coach] John DeFilippo. I give a lot of credit to that offensive line. I give a lot of credit to [QB] Chase Daniel for the way they prepare, and Carson for the way they prepare during the week and get themselves ready to play. When you’ve prepared so much as a player, particularly at the quarterback position, the game can sort of slow down for you. Good things can happen. He continues to make plays and continues to protect the football. He protected himself tonight. Everything right now is going in the right direction.”
 
On calling the misdirection screen passes early in the game:

“Well, Number One, we hadn’t shown any in the first two games. Secondly, it was an opportunity to put the ball in [Eagles RB Darren Sproles’] hands. This is a fast flow defense and a speed defense. We showed a little misdirection off of a play-action pass that we had shown in the first couple of weeks, so it just happened to work.”
 
On Sproles’ 73-yard touchdown catch:

“I saw Carson scrambling this way. Darren was literally right in front of me and when I saw him wheel, my first reaction was to find the sideline to see if he stepped out to be quite honest.  He hadn’t, and Carson just -- it was like in slow motion -- floated that ball up the sideline and Darren did the rest from there.  It was a tremendous play from those two individuals.  I guess the last thing I did, is I always look back to make sure there are no flags on the ground on those long plays.”
 
On the impact of plays from Sproles and Eagles TE Brent Celek to help Wentz in a big game:

“It’s huge.  When the veteran players see the type of young quarterback that they have at the reigns, they want to make plays for him.  They work every single day in practice to make those plays and I was just happy that Celek came out and had a great game again tonight.  The offensive line was tremendous and defensively I can’t say enough about the defense and getting after the Steelers there at the end of the second half.  Those guys are huge for a guy like Carson.”
 
On his expectations for Wentz heading into the season:

“Back then circumstances were completely different.  We saw glimpses of it in the spring during OTA’s, saw it even in camp prior to his injury.  I just think given the opportunity, and when you make the decision you make the decision.  Knowing that you have to trust your coaches; I have to trust myself.  I don’t want to say that I have to call a perfect game, but I want to call plays that are beneficial for him and the offense.  I still think the sky is the limit with him. He’ll get better with every rep that he takes.”
 
On the way the defense was able to stack up against the Steelers offense:

“Well that’s such a high-powered offense over there. We were able to put a little pressure on [QB] Ben [Roethlisberger] with our four-man rush and do a great job with the defensive line and then being able to just rally in the back end with our linebackers and with the secondary. I thought [CB] Jalen [Mills], even though he had a couple of penalties, I thought he played extremely well.  Again, the defense came up with two turnovers. They just weren’t going to be denied. They just weren’t going to bow their necks. They weren’t going to let them in the endzone. It just came down to our will versus theirs and I was just so happy with the way the guys played. Just a great team effort.”   
 
On keeping Wentz in for the whole game:

“Well it’s a mentality. It’s an aggressive mentality and at the same time, there’s a lot of weapons on that side of the field on offense. They’ve proven it. I really don’t think that any lead is too great in the National Football League.  I don’t ever want to get caught where, you know, the wind sort of comes out of your sail a little bit. I want to keep sending that message to our guys that we’re going to remain aggressive until the time is right. So I’m going to continue to coach that way and obviously play-call that way.”
 
On the ability of the defensive line to get pressure on Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger:

“When you can get pressure with just four, it leaves you with seven to defend and cover. [Steelers WR] Antonio [Brown] is a great receiver. I know he got his catches and yards tonight but the best was we kept him out of the end zone tonight. They are a great football team over there. To keep our defensive line fresh, and rotate those guys to get after Ben like we did. We got the sacks, we had four sacks. It is huge because it allows your seven defenders in the back end to really play sound defense.”
 
On what does a game like this tell you about the team:

“It is still a young season, only three games. This was a good benchmark. That’s a good football team, the Steelers are a great football team. They are going to be there at the end, they always are. Coach Tomlin always has those guys ready to play. But for our guys, it is just a little glimpse of that belief that I have been saying since the spring and summer. If they just do their jobs, I just feel that good things can happen. We just protect each other in that dressing room in there and keep coming to work everyday.”
 
On the status of RB Ryan Matthews:

“I am not sure right now. We will get him evaluated and I will update you tomorrow but right now I do not really know at this point.”
 
On his thoughts of Eagles RB Wendell Smallwood:

“He’s the same type of runner that we felt he was coming out of college and what we saw in preseason. He’s a big, powerful guy. He’s a downhill guy. He’s a one-cut runner. He did a great job for us. Darren, Kenjon [Eagles RB Kenjon Barner] and Wendell really stepped up and did a really nice job. To get first downs, to be smart about the end of the game, to get the first down and stay in bounds as a rookie is tremendous. It’s a great step forward with his development, but I’m very happy with what he did.”
 
On how he keeps the team even-keeled after a win like this:

“You just continue to grind. We’re only as good as the last game. Anything can happen in the National Football League. I’ve seen too many times things can happen. We just have to focus one game at a time. It’s a one-game mentality. We’re fortunate we get the break. Coming off the bye next week, we can get some guys healthy and we have a long push. We just have to focus on one at a time.”

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